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Group Updates 403(b) Tools

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The SPARK Institute is revising documents that 403(b) retirement plan sponsors and vendors use to share data.

The Simsbury, Conn., institute has replaced Part III of “Best Practices for Information Sharing” with a new, stand-alone data-sharing guide, “Best Practices for Multiple Vendor Plans Remittance and Census Data Elements.”

The institute also has released Version 1.04 of the “Best Practices for Information Sharing” guide, and it has posted a batch of sample files, data-sharing formats and guidelines for coding data.

The materials are on the Web at

The institute developed the new materials after finding that vendors and employers needed more help with sharing remittance and census data, according to James Racine, a member of the SPARK Institute task force that created the updates.

The institute will give users until Jan. 1, 2010, to shift to Version 1.04 of the “Best Practices for Information Sharing” guide.

The new “Best Practices for Remittance and Census Data” will become effective on July 1, 2010.

Sending and receiving parties that want to start using the new guides before the effective date can if the other parties agree to do so, the institute says.